Fantasy Pick #14: Christian Marclay

I’m playing “Fantasy Art Collection,” inspired by games like Fantasy Baseball. Go to the main page to get the idea.

Fantasy Art Collection pick #14

As a very belated birthday present to myself, I bought The Clock by Christian Marclay yesterday. Since I’ve been living on a shoestring ever since my pricey Albers purchases in February, I was trying to be more realistic in my art-buying, but my big dreams got the better of me so I decided to stick to my budget and become an art thief.

I had a great plan lined up—The Clock closed at 10pm on Aug. 1 at Lincoln Center, and my birthday was the 3rd, so I intended to hijack it before it left town, and spend the 24 hours leading up to my birth watching it. That didn’t happen, so I’m embracing the fantasy once again, acting quite fancy, and buying a Marclay. Here’s to dreaming, and to my next year, which is already in full swing.

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I’ll go out on a limb and say that The Clock is the best movie I’ve ever seen. I heard about it last year when it was at Paula Cooper—that it was a 24 hour clock video, and there were lines around the block all night to see it. Without looking into it, I imagined something like Warhol‘s Empire State movie, which sounds like a pure torture art experience to me. But I was wrong. Oh, so wrong.

I went twice. The first time I got there at 8:23 a.m. on Saturday morning and watched until 10: 39 a.m. It was so strange how I completely lost track of time even though time is the subject of the movie, and every single minute is represented by movie clips on screen. It’s very suspenseful, and funny to see the activities that are averaged in movies in the early morning hours… people waking up, late for work, panicked, in love, having breakfast, terribly hung over.

But what made it particularly fascinating to me is the way Marclay plays with audio—cutting it short on some clips and running it under others, changing the context of each scene—calm, beautiful moments have terrifying music or conversations going on at the same time, and vice versa, in varying degrees.

 “This elliptically simple, spectacularly dazzling 24-hour film is made up of thousands of scenes and snippets from films, all marking the passage of time, minute by minute, sometimes second by second, on clocks and sundials and people speaking the time and, in one case, a child drawing a timepiece on his arm. It’s all synchronized so that whatever time it is onscreen is the actual time in New York” —Saltz!

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The second time I watched from 3:42 p.m.–6:43 p.m. It was still fascinating, but it seems like a more uneventful time in movies—people finishing up work, heading home, having dinner, relaxing etc. (I also stood in line for 2hrs 45 minutes, so I was a bit frazzled once I got a seat. It’s sort of like staring at a cab while you’re waiting for the bus, there’s no telling how fast the line will move, people might sit for hours or minutes.)

And here’s the best news of all—The Clock is coming to MoMA from Dec. 21 through Jan. 21 so Get your memberships, people, and go see it as soon as it opens! This procrastinator city will guarantee super long lines as the end approaches, and you’ll want to go back, I promise—$85 for the whole year is wayyyyy better than $25 for one little old visit.

GO SEE THE CLOCK! If you can, and you don’t, you’re a big dummy. It’s the coolest thing ever.

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